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Acute kidney injury (AKI) after major vascular surgery is an important risk factor for adverse long-term outcomes. The pleiotropic effects of statins may reduce kidney injury caused by perioperative episodes of hypotension and/or suprarenal clamping and improve long-term outcomes.Of 2170 consecutive patients undergoing lower extremity bypass or abdominal aortic surgery from 1995 to 2006, cardiac risk factors and medication were noted. A total of 515/1944 (27%) patients were statin users. Creatinine clearance (CrCl) was assessed preoperatively at 1, 2 and 3 days after surgery. Outcome measures were postoperative AKI and long-term mortality. Postoperative kidney injury was defined as a >10% decrease in CrCl on Day 1 or 2, compared to the baseline. Recovery of kidney function was defined as a CrCl >90% of the baseline value at Day 3 after surgery. Multivariable Cox regression analysis, including baseline cardiovascular risk factors, baseline CrCl and propensity score for statin use, was applied to evaluate the influence of statins on early postoperative kidney injury and long-term survival.AKI occurred in 664 (34%) patients [median −25% CrCl, range (−10% to −71%)]. Of these 664 patients, 313 (47%) had a complete recovery of kidney function at Day 3 after surgery. Age, hypertension, suprarenal cross-clamping and baseline CrCl predicted the development of kidney injury during the postoperative period. The incidence of kidney injury was similar among statin users and non-users (29% versus 25%, OR 1.15, 95% CI 0.9–1.5). However, if kidney function deteriorated, statin use was associated with increased odds of complete kidney function recovery (OR 2.0, 95% CI 1.0–3.8). During a mean follow-up of 6.24 years, half of the patients died (55%). Importantly, statin use was also associated with an improved long-term survival, irrespective of kidney function change (HR 0.60, 95% CI 0.48–0.75).Statin use is associated with improved recovery from AKI after major surgery and has a beneficial effect on long-term survival.